The Perspective of Justice

One Heart, One Mind 

The Easter sacraments of initiation have called us to become a community of God’s people. The program for this “community of believers is to be of one heart and one mind.”

The Second Reading deals with the one heart part of being community: loving God and loving God’s children. The Gospel deals with the one mind part of being community: belief in Jesus even among those who have not seen.

What is such a community like? Look at the Reading from Acts. The early church of Jerusalem respected the apostles and their witness to the resurrection, and along with that they shared their possessions.

Voluntarily surrendering their right to private ownership, they created a situation in which no one among them was needy. All members of the community had what they needed, or if they didn’t have it, they got it from the community.

The passage from Acts does not attempt to impose on us a specific economic system. Rather, it tells us that whatever economic system the followers of Jesus Christ espouse, it had better be a system that provides for the needs of all the people.

A well-ordered human society requires that men recognize and observe their mutual rights and duties. It also demands that each contribute generously to the establishment of a civic order in which rights and duties are progressively more sincerely and effectively acknowledged and fulfilled.

It is not enough, for example, to acknowledge and respect every man’s right to the means of subsistence. One must also strive to insure that he actually has enough in the way of food and nourishment.

Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris,1963: 31-32

 

Gerald Darring

 

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson